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IE 6 is dead

Filed under: Blogs,News,Tech — Andy @ 4:28 pm

April 8, 2010

According to today’s statistics Microsoft Internet Explorer v.6 has dropped to 8.9% share of browser usage worldwide (have a look at www.w3schools.com for the latest stats – it might be even less by the time you are reading this).

This has prompted us to make a decision which we have been agonising over for quite a while: by default we are not going to support it any longer.

Why? Well, in short it doesn’t really work. We have to do things to our websites that we’d rather not do to make them work in IE6 – things that often break the site in other browsers.

That’s an oversimplification, of course. IE6 was OK in its time. But its time has passed. Things we take for granted just didn’t exist in August 2001 when it was released. No PNG transparency, lack of proper CSS support, non-standard rendering of pages and bugs galore were not so much of a problem when there were no standards to stick to. However, times have changed and browser manufacturers – despite still arguing about details – are making an effort to standardise the way websites display and work in order to deliver a better user experience.

The Web 2.0 revolution that has happened since the release of IE6 depends on technologies that just don’t exist in that browser. Neither YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Google want anything to do with it any more because they don’t want to be held back. Other browsers allow them to move forward and innovate.

The biggest problem we have is that we are constantly told that “large corporations” still use IE6 because their IT departments insist upon it. We’ve never actually seen proof of this but we do come across clients who have shown their new site to somebody who is still using IE6 only to see it break or just look plain ugly. This, of course, makes us look incompetent. The hacks we need to do to avoid this often cause a huge amount of lost time as it involves actually finding out what the problem is first before embarking on a long quest around the internet to find a solution which doesn’t have the opposite effect on the other browsers. Then we have to actually implement that solution. Naturally the incompatibility is usually spotted at 4:45pm on Friday.

If we allow for this when quoting for work our prices will look expensive. If we don’t and take the chance everything will be OK, we’ll probably lose out. It’s always a dilemma.

We’ve read endless tirades against IE6 and why it should be killed off. Calls on discussion groups for militant action and rants and raves (which just usually end in general Microsoft-bashing), usually made in the early hours of the morning by web developers who are at the end of their tether trying to make their site work in a crappy, obsolete browser and not getting paid anything for it, whilst trying to explain to clients in simple terms what’s actually going wrong. We understand this – we’ve been there ourselves.

But mouthing off on the internet isn’t going to help, so we’ve decided to do something a bit less confrontational and, hopefully, helpful.

We’ve decided to make IE6 support an option with the websites we build. From now on our quotations for web work will have an “IE6 compliance” line which will detail the extra costs involved in making the site backwards-compatible for this browser. It’s not a way of charging extra…believe me, we’d really rather not have to bother supporting IE6 at all – life is just too short. But we can and we will if we have to. This way the client has the option. Long term, we hope if more web development companies calm down a bit and do the same IE6 will just become a ghost in the browser’s graveyard along with AOL, Netscape, Mosaic and CyberDog.

We’d like to hear people’s thoughts on this approach.

Today I learned…

Filed under: Tech,Thoughts — Tags: , , , — Martin @ 1:59 pm

January 7, 2010

Hello and Happy new year! It’s been a while since I’ve managed to post anything new on here, we’ve were very busy during the run up to Christmas and I couldn’t find the time to write. Still we will have some new work to add to our portfolio very soon.

Design and in particular, web design are fields which require practitioners to keep constantly up to date on what’s going on within their chosen field. In the case of design, its important to keep up with the latest trends, themes and motifs, while trying to figure out where to go next. In the case of web design you also have to keep up with technology, APIs, frameworks and a whole host of other technobabble that occasionally fills me with dread.

Recently I’ve recently been learning the intricacies of x-cart. X Cart is a solution for building safe and robust e-commerce sites and supports all the sort of features that you’d expect to see in an online shop, by using it we can offer our clients a powerful shopping solution that should cover almost all their needs for a nominal charge. We’ll be adding a couple of shopfronts we’ve been building to our portfolio soon.

I’ve also been burying my head in the innards of WordPress to allow us to build ever more complex blogs and websites, I’ve also been working my first custom widget for the Sensora 2010 website.

I’ve also been busying myself with learning Action Script 3. To be fair, I’ve been learning bits of it since it was released, but I seriously knuckled down to it in 2009 and can now use it – together with away3d to deliver fully interactive 3d experiences straight to the user’s browser. Working with Flash and AS3 is a bit of a weird one for me personally, I used to hate it, then I had what I guess you could call an epiphany and everything seemed to fit together in my head. Now its an area I actually enjoy working with – go figure.

Ok… so I kinda revel in the technobabble, but when you can use it to actually come up with something it’s sort of seductive.

 
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